VIENNA—The loss of muscle mass during chemotherapy shortens the life expectancy of esophageal cancer patients by an average of 32 months, a new Austrian study showed on Tuesday.
The Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Medical University of Vienna as well as the Vienna General Hospital conducted the study and examined how loss of muscle mass, known as sarcopenia, along with body composition, plays a role during such therapy.
Esophageal cancer patients who experienced sarcopenia at any stage during the therapy had their life span shortened by the stated average length of time, compared to those in whom sarcopenia was not diagnosed, the study showed.
It was noted that chemotherapy itself is not necessarily responsible for sarcopenia, with many of the patients having had the condition prior to starting their therapy. A poor diet as well as too little exercise was given as the reason for the loss of muscle mass.
Nonetheless, sarcopenia was identified as an independent risk factor for those undergoing chemotherapy.